The Scots take on Ukraine in the playoff semi-finals for the World Cup later this year in Qatar with the nation hoping to qualify for the first time in the competition since 1998.


Arsenal star Kieran Tierney is not part of the squad for the playoffs as he is still recovering from surgery to his knee.



In Tierney’s absence, Miller recommends Cooper should start for the Scots against Ukraine, the former striker pointing out to the centre-back’s Leeds experience of playing under Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch as points in his favour.


The ex-Scotland star though feels that Tierney cannot easily be replaced and Cooper will be a step-down in the area for the Scots as he will not make runs to complement Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson.



“Going into the Ukraine game, I’m always slightly concerned when we’re missing one of our centre-backs, whether it’s [Scott] McTominay, Tierney or Grant Hanley”, Miller wrote in his Daily Record column.


“So Tierney missing out on Wednesday night is a big loss because he’s a world-class player.



“I’d go with Liam Cooper as his replacement in that position.


“He’s played at Premier League level with Leeds for a couple of seasons now under quality coaches in Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch.


“But with all due respect to Liam, he’s not going to go bombing past Robertson on the left flank.


“Mind you, there aren’t many players who can.


“We’re so lucky to have Tierney who can play that position and cause problems for teams going forward.


“He helps a guy like Robertson who himself is playing at an elite level.


“Cooper is a reliable centre-back but won’t give us what Tierney does – it’s just not in his DNA.”


Tierney has played almost every minute of Scotland’s Qatar World Cup qualification games, while Cooper started the last two games of the group stage last year.


Cooper will be hoping that he gets to start against Ukraine too and help his team to not only reach the playoff final, against Wales, but also qualify for the World Cup.